Contact: David Zuba, Publicist, Media Relations/Communications
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – (Wednesday, October 21, 2015) – Under the warmth of a bright autumn morning sun and a blue, cloud-free sky, nearly 200 volunteer students from the local Rotary InterAct program descended on the historic Atlantic City Boardwalk on Saturday, October 17th to assist the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority’s Special Improvement Division (CRDA SID) General Maintenance team during the day’s dune grass trimming and clean up activities.
Prior to sunrise, more than a dozen members of the General Maintenance team began their day at 6 am with chain saws and weed whackers to trim the dune grass to a manageable height of 10-12 inches. This process allows the dune grass to remain healthy, regenerate thicker and more robust, and maintain a vital ecosystem for wildlife, thus ensuring that the protective dune system is strong enough to continue as a critical safety barrier along the Atlantic City shoreline.
The hard-working student volunteers from Rotary InterAct, which is a club for young people ages 12-18 who want to join together to tackle important issues in their communities while crafting leadership skills, making friends and having fun, officially commenced their day at 9 am on New Hampshire Avenue. The students were divided into five teams and spent the greater part of five hours (minus a hard-earned lunch break) using their hands, bending their backs and squeezing job-specific tools before ending the day at Connecticut Avenue. In all, eight blocks of dunes were cleaned and five dump truck loads carried away an estimated 280 garbage bags filled to the brim with dead vegetation, trash and recyclables.
“It’s wonderful to see so many of our young people volunteer their time, on a weekend, for such a worthwhile cause,” said CRDA Executive Director John Palmieri. “I applaud the efforts of our SID division General Maintenance and Ambassador Teams, and Rotary InterAct, for giving their time and energy to this project.”
Students who selflessly gave their time off to support a worthy environmental cause represented schools from throughout the region, including Absegami, St. Augustine, Triton, Vineland, Schalick, Bridgeton, Egg Harbor Township, Buena, Stockton University and the Tri-County community-based club.
Mary Chapman, Rotary InterAct Chairperson and member of the South Jersey Rotary E-Club, a group that routinely meets online as a way to encourage individuals to become involved in Rotary, explained the motivation behind the day’s impressive turnout.
“They get it, they have a lot of enthusiasm and they are always willing to get involved,” said Chapman. “These students realize that you don’t always have to rely on government or others to get things done.”
Four students from Egg Harbor Township High School discussed why participating in Rotary InterAct and the day’s clean up are important to them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygpeZ9T8NEI
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection allows access to the beach dunes for the purpose of conducting routine maintenance throughout the year. In addition to the dunes, the nearby jetties and beach areas were cleaned as well. CRDA SID supervisors and several members of the Ambassador team also assisted in the clean up efforts.
“This CRDA SID and Rotary InterAct joint initiative enabled our team to work together with a great group of students that assisted us in making our dunes, jetties and beachfront environment aesthetically pleasing for our residents and visitors while also making them a healthier place for our wildlife species too,” said CRDA SID Director Rick Santoro.
As traditional volunteer groups, such as Rotary International among many others, witness the aging of its long-time members, it’s vitally important to cultivate a new wave of volunteers in order to ensure that Rotary’s legacy of “service above self” lives on.
Chapman concluded that “our goal is to get kids involved in Rotary at the high school level and at the college level in order to show them that being a part of Rotary is cool.”
# # #
The only agency of its kind nationwide, the CRDA has used Atlantic City casino reinvestments as a catalyst for meaningful, positive improvement in the lives of New Jersey residents, investing nearly $2 billion in more than 400 projects statewide since 1984. Under the 2011 Tourism District Act, CRDA’s mission evolved from statewide projects to becoming the state’s key economic development agency for Atlantic City. CRDA responsibilities expanded to include land use regulation, clean and safe initiatives, tourism marketing, ownership and oversight of the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall, and partnership with the Atlantic City Alliance to brand and market Atlantic City. The former ACCVA, now a division of CRDA, is the first destination marketing organization in New Jersey to achieve prestigious Destination Marketing Accreditation by the Destination Marketing Association International.
For destination photos and videos media may visit www.doatlanticcity.com/mediaonline where dozens of assets are available for download. For complete Atlantic City tourism information, visit www.doatlanticcity.com. Also follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoAtlanticCity and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VisitAC hashtag #DOAC.